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The more than 100 women whose life stories make up this volume range from the exemplary to the torious, from historical and mythological figures to Renaissance contemporaries of its author, the master storyteller Giovanni Boccaccio. The first collection of biographies in Western literature devoted exclusively to women, Famous Women affords a fascinating glimpse of a moment in history when mediaeval attitudes toward women were beginning to give way to more modern views of their potential. Virginia Brown's translation, commissioned for the I Tatti Renaissance Library, is the first English edition based on the autograph manuscript of the Latin.
VIRGINIA BROWN is Senior Fellow, Pontifical Institute of Mediaeval Studies, Toronto.